20 Montana Ranches Needed for 2015 Summer Research Project

Agri-Best Feeds is looking to work in conjunction with the Growth Through Agriculture Program sponsored by the Montana Department of Agriculture to do a summer research project on ranches throughout Montana evaluating the economic benefit of increased average daily gain on either calves or yearlings by feeding SweetPro and Redmond salt.

This project looks to work with approximately 20 ranches in different areas across Montana. Each ranch will put 75 to 200 head per ranch on the feeding program and compare the average daily gain to a contemporary group (same sex calves, similar genetics, range, water, etc.) of cattle on the rancher’s mineral and salt program. Each ranch will work with the researchers to put the protocols into place for around a 180 to 205 day trial that will look to run from calving to weaning for the cow/calf operation and the summer grazing period for a yearling operation.

Historically Agri-Best has seen and increase in average daily gains up to 4/10 of a pound utilizing SweetPro and Redmond salt compared to simply grazing with a good mineral program. The day cost for this program ranges from $0.42 to $0.48 per pair (or yearling) but the increased weight gain pays for all of the vitamin, mineral, protein, and energy needs of the cow, calf, and calf in gestation plus puts more dollars in the producer’s pockets and all on less grass.

For the summer research project, the selected ranches will pay $0.12 per pair (yearlings per head) per day for the animals on trial to participate in the program as a replacement value to their current salt and mineral program as well as supplying their normal mineral and salt for the control group. Agri-Best Feeds will carry the remaining cost of the program and deliver product into the ranch as well as working with the rancher on managing the feeding program. At the end of the trial period, the average gain increase will be multiplied by the contracted calf/yearling price and the proceeds split 50/50 between the rancher and Agri-Best Feeds. For example, a 4/10 pound average daily gain increase on $2.00 calves would produce an additional $.80 per day that would be split equally between the rancher and Agri-Best Feeds. The $.40/head on 100 head for 180 days would give the rancher an additional profit of $72/head or $7,200.

Other areas that this research project will evaluate are conception rates, forage usage, body condition, weaning ease and growth, and overall herd health.

Requirements to Participate in the 2015 Summer Feeding Research Project include:

  1. The management ability and commitment to follow the research protocol
  2. Enough cattle (pairs or yearlings – min of 100 head with 50 on trial/50 control) of:
    • Similar genetics
    • Same age (focusing on first and second calf heifers for the target of the bulk of the study)
    • Same sex on calves/yearings
  3. Same/similar range conditions (forage type, quality, quantity, etc.)
  4. Same/similar water (quality, availability, etc.)

The Growth through Agriculture Program seeks to add value to Montana’s agricultural products and have the prospects to create and/or retain jobs in Montana by funding projects that meet their criteria through grants and loans. Agri-Best Feeds, 2010 MSU College of Business State Farm Montana Family Business of the Year, seeks to equip farmers and ranchers to maximize land and livestock by distributing unique high performing products.

If you are interested in more information about this research project or to receive an application to participate in this research call 866 601-6646 and ask for Scott Anderson or email scott@agribestfeeds.com.